Global Comparison: Theory and Method - TH652

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2020 to 2021
(version 2)
Spring 5 30 (15) PROF Y Sherwood checkmark-circle


This module provides an introduction to the theoretical, methodological and socio-political issues pertaining to the cross-cultural and comparative study of philosophies, ideas, worldviews and religions. It will introduce and explore theoretical frameworks and methodological questions related to the translation and representation of ideas, texts and worldviews as explored by different theories of interpretation. It will also explore issues surrounding understanding rituals, cultural practices and modes of identity formation and reflect upon the nature of 'the global' and ‘globalisation’ as categories. Questions to be explored in this module would normally include: how does one determine the meaning of a text? What hermeneutic, ethical and political issues arise when translating a concept, idea or practice from one linguistic, cultural or historical context into another? What are the challenges and pitfalls of comparative analysis? How do ideas, texts and forms of identity take on new meanings in the global circulation of ideas, practices and people? How does the mode of media/technology (oral composition, printed text, film, digital representation) impact upon thinking and its interpretation?


This module appears in the following module collections.

Contact hours

Total Contact Hours: 40

Method of assessment

Essay 1 (3,000 words) – 50%
Essay 2 (3,000 words) – 50%

Indicative reading

Indicative Reading List

Adhar Mall, R (2000). Intercultural Philosophy. London: Rowmann and Littlefield.
Berger, P & Thomas Luckman (1996). The Social Construction of Reality. London: Penguin.
Bruns, G (1995). Hermeneutics Ancient and Modern. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Felski, R, and Stanford Friedmann, S (eds) (2013). Comparison: Theories, Approaches, Uses. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Hughes, A. (2017). Comparison: A Critical Primer. Sheffield: Equinox.
Ma, L and van Brakel, J, (eds). (2017) Fundamentals of Comparative and Intercultural Philosophy. Albany: State University of New York Press.
Zimmerman, J (2015). Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate a critical understanding of the theoretical and methodological challenges involved in the comparative and cross-cultural study of worldviews, philosophies and religions;
Demonstrate an awareness of the key hermeneutical questions arising from translation from one language and cultural context to another;
Contrast texts, concepts, ideas and practices from different intellectual and cultural traditions;
Demonstrate a thorough awareness of the social, historical and cultural context in which ideas, practices and forms of identity develop;
Demonstrate a significant understanding of one or more theoretical and/or methodological approaches to cross-cultural interpretation.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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